India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara termed Pat Cummins’s delivery that got him out as one of the best balls of the series and one that could have dismissed any other batsman.
Pujara grinded his way to a 176-ball 50 but kept India in the game during the first session as he shared a 53-run fifth-wicket partnership with Rishabh Pant.
However, post-lunch, after Pant got hit on his left hand and was dismissed, Pujara was out caught behind as he edged a delivery from Cummins to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.
“The ball which I got was one of the best balls of this series. I felt I couldn’t have done anything better, even if I was batting on 100 or double hundred, I don’t think I could have survived that ball which kicked from the back of the length. I had to play that ball. There was an extra bounce. So it was just one ball which was really good and unfortunately, I couldn’t get away from that. You have to accept it,” said Pujara while speaking to the media after the match.
“Cummins is the No. 1 Test bowler. He is proving that again and again. He is coming hard even on this track, where there is not much help… He has a better idea of this wicket, sometimes he has bowled unplayable deliveries like the one that got me today. That delivery could have got any other batter.”
The India No. 3 said that Pant’s dismissal impacted the Indian innings as until then they were in a comfortable position.
“I thought losing Rishabh Pant was the moment that turned it around. We were in a comfortable position till then. We were 180-odd for four and doing well. Things turned around when Rishabh got out and then I got out. Our aim was to get close to 330-340. Yes, we missed out somewhere there. Losing Ajinkya Rahane earlier in the first session was a big blow but we recovered from there and there was a good partnership with Rishabh,” added Pujara.
Asked if Pant’s dismissal affected him since he followed soon after, in the very next over, Pujara said, “I don’t think losing Pant affected me but yes, when he was around I was more comfortable and we were building a partnership. I can’t say that because Rishabh got hit and got out, I lost my concentration. I had all my concentration. It was a good ball.”
Pujara, who was hurt on his right hand in the lead-up to the third Test during a nets session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 2, said the blow is still hurting but not as much as to affect his batting.
“I don’t think it is putting any trouble in my batting. It is not easy. I wouldn’t say that it is completely normal but this was expected. If there is a bit of pain, I can still manage it to play this game, because it is an important game. I couldn’t have missed out.”